'Missing' man dies as cops fail to tell kin they found him injured

Published: 07 December, 2011 07:38 IST | Shiva Devnath |

Man meets with accident, Kasturba Marg police admit him to hospital; same day, his kin report him missing in same police station but cops fail to draw any connection; 2 days later, man 'flees' hospital and is found dead

Man meets with accident, Kasturba Marg police admit him to hospital; same day, his kin report him missing in same police station but cops fail to draw any connection; 2 days later, man 'flees' hospital and is found dead

Out-of-sync operations of cops from the same police station as well as poor accountability of a government hospital together spun a lump of confusion that caused a family to lose a dear one, say the kin of the deceased.

Why don't we talk about it? Police officials say that two different
officers attended to the missing complaint and the 'unidentified' injured
admitted to Bhagwati hospital, thereby causing the lacuna in communication.

A few days ago, the Kasturba Marg police ((Borivli E)) admitted a middle-aged man injured in an accident to a hospital. The same day a missing person's complaint was registered with the same police station. But due to lack of coordination or alleged police negligence, the officers failed to inform each other or the family of the development. Later, the person's body was found in Borivli West after he managed to escape from the hospital.

On November 22, the Kasturba Marg police received a call about an unidentified person who had met with an accident in their jurisdiction. The cops reached the spot and rushed him to BMC-run Bhagwati hospital as he was in a critical condition. Police officials could not identify him, as he did not have any identification documents on him.

The next day, one Prakash Kadam lodged a complaint about his brother-in-law, Lakshman Satpal (45), a resident of Devipada area of Borivli East, having gone missing. Incidentally, Kadam, in his bid to find his relative, visited Bhagwati hospital on his own - without any intimation from the police - with Satpal's photo. But he was told no one by that name had been admitted, since Satpal had been admitted as 'unidentified'.

Pieces fall in place
All the dots were joined the day after that. On November 24, Bhagwati hospital lodged a missing complaint with the MHB Colony police station in Borivli (East) about the unidentified patient having gone missing from the hospital. The same day, the Borivli West police found the body of an 'unidentified' person with a saline drip needle still stuck on his wrist and a bandage on his head near the hospital.

After investigating, cops learnt that the patient wounded in the accident was Satpal. He had been admitted to Bhagwati hospital by the Kasturba Marg police, but he either fled or was taken out of the hospital, after which his injuries -- aggravated by inattention -- worsened and he died.

Investigation officer Shyam Parulekar of Borivli police station said, "Post mortem reports say that the head injury from the accident on November 22 was the cause of Satpal's death."

'Sloppy approach'
In this hyper-tangled mess, Satpal's kin are torn with the question of whom to blame first. Said Kadam, "Had the cops informed me on November 22 about the unidentified person found injured, I could have met my brother-in-law in the hospital and his life could have been saved. We would have seen to it that he was given proper care, but the cops handled it negligently, they misguided us.

"And how can a patient just go missing from a hospital? It is due to their rashness that my brother-in-law is dead."

Kadam added that after Satpal's funeral rites, the family will complain to the home minister about the carelessness on the part of the police and the hospital.

Police say
Senior PI Rajendra Thakur of Kasturba Marg police station said, "I was on leave. Satpal was admitted to the hospital by one of our police officers, while the missing complaint was registered by another officer."

He added that senior police officers have started an inquiry into the matter as to how the two officers did not coordinate with each other at all.

Hospital says
Asked how a patient went missing from the hospital, the dean of Bhagwati Hospital, C S Rathod, said, "Satpal (who was unidentified then) had only gone out for a walk, and might have decided to flee the hospital. We registered a missing complaint in the matter and now it's up to the police to conduct inquiries."

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